Arizona opens up post season and Pac-12 Tournament play against Colorado Thursday afternoon (3:40 pm│P12N). Arizona last played Colorado two weeks ago in Boulder and lost 75-72. Colorado beat Washington State in their first game of the Pac-12 Tournament 80-56.
Josh Scott vs Kaleb Tarczewski – Scott was tremendous in the previous matchup, scoring 26 points and grabbing 9 rebounds. Arizona was unable to stop Scott as he was able to continually score on the Arizona big men down low and off the dribble. Scott was particularly effective in the second stanza, scoring 15 points but more importantly 12 in the final 10 minutes and dominated down the stretch to carry Colorado to victory. Tarczewski will try to continue his steady play and keep Scott in check. Knowing these are his final games in an Arizona uniform, I expect Tarczewski to play extremely hard and with great emotion. Tarczewski is aiming to become the winningest player in program history with his 110th win, eclipsing Matt Muehlebach’s record.
George King vs Allonzo Trier – King scored 14 points and had 7 rebounds while knocking down 3 out of 6 three pointers in Boulder. He is coming off a solid game against Washington State where he scored 21 points and made 2 out of 3 from long range. Trier has the size and physicality to keep King in check on the perimeter. He had two subpar games offensively against Cal and Stanford, but was solid defensively. Look for Trier to step up against Colorado and score more efficiently.
Parker Jackson-Cartwright was under the weather in the previous meeting, halting his stellar play but had a bounce back weekend against Cal and Stanford. When PJC plays well and is pushing the ball up court and finding York in transition for threes is when Arizona is at their best.
Dusan Ristic has seen his minutes and productivity dip as Coach Miller is shrinking his bench and using the starters more. However, Ristic has the ability to be a difference maker when on the floor. He needs to focus on rebounding and defense, and his minutes will increase.
What To Look For
Defensive Rebounding. In the first matchup, Arizona gave up 14 offensive rebounds to Colorado. Wesley Gordon grabbed 7 while Josh Scott had 3. Limiting Colorado to one shot will be key to victory. Arizona is currently 7th in the nation in defensive rebounding percentage, and was first just a couple games ago.
Defense. Arizona limited Colorado to 41% shooting in Boulder, but again was unable to secure defensive rebounds which is the last part of defense. Colorado isn’t a team with a lot of firepower, so being locked in defensively will also help Arizona on offense with transition opportunities.
Turnovers. Arizona has done a fabulous job taking care of the ball the last several games. Continuing to keep the turnovers to 10 or less will be imperative.
Gabe York. York did not play well in Boulder and wasn’t able to get free for open looks on the perimeter and was over dribbling. I’d like to see Arizona run a couple of set plays to get him involved early. He is at his best catching and shooting like against Stanford and the end against Cal. Hopefully he will be able to carry his hot shooting to Vegas.
Colorado will be a confident team having beaten Arizona two weeks ago and coming off a dominating win over Washington State. Arizona will have extra motivation seeing the Colorado fans storm the court after the game in Boulder. Arizona will need to get off to a good start and play ahead instead of behind, which allows them to utilize their bench. Having to play three games in three days to win the Pac-12 Tournament championship, getting off to a good start is critical for momentum and confidence.
Allonzo Trier wore the Kyrie 1 Double Nickel against Cal and the Kobe VI LA against Stanford.